Wednesday, February 17, 2010

From the CAVE dwellers

CBC News - Saskatchewan - Sask. power plant proposal generating controversy

So just reading the above article, and I get the impression that it isn't the proposal for a power plant itself that is generating a controversy, it's the fact that the power plant will not be run by Saskpower where the stink is being raise. So who is raising the stink? Union affiliated organizations. Why is it being raised? Because any new power plant built outside of Saskpower would have to be unionized when it comes on line, and the unionization has to come under the new rules of 50% of cards signed plus a secret ballot vote to actually certify the union - both requirements that force unions to work harder to organize and scare the hell out of them when the workers have had enough.

Let's take a look at the proposal on the surface. This group seeks to invest their money in the province by way of building and operating a power plant and selling the electricity to SaskPower for the grid. The objection to this is that it is seeking to privatize some of the functions of a crown corporation (hence privatize it) and for risking $700 million of their own money, the group gets to *gasp* earn a profit from their investment.

For any normal person, it would be expected that profit would be a goal. For groups like SOS Crowns (clever that they came up with an untenable set of words so that they could shorten it to that), profit is a dirty word, and profit without union involvement is even worse. Questions have been asked as to why Saskpower can't do this themselves, and the answer is that with "green renewable" investments and replacement of coal fire power plants, SaskPower has to spend enough as it is to maintain what they have never mind expanding.

What these groups don't seem to understand is that the group seeking to build and operate this plant are taking a tremendous risk. First, SaskPower dictates rates, it isn't dictated to - by letting this group build and maintain a plant, it is locking in its cost of production on a portion of their electricity over a long period of time. Second, the group is taking a risk that the Natural Gas prices stay relatively cheap over the next 20 years. By taking these risks the company should reasonably expect to be compensated for those risks.

If you ask me, there is no down side to this project... but then again, I didn't see a down side to the Bruce Power nuke plant that was being studied either.

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